MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - As the Fourth of July draws closer many residents are itching to get started on their summer holiday plans. Meridian Fire Inspector Tavis Millerov's reminds residents about fireworks safety. "They go up, they go boom," he explains. "First thing is, we don't recommend them, period. Leave the fireworks to the professionals, there's plenty of professional shows in the area. Leave it to them."
The potential to start a fire and/or cause traumatic injury should be a real concern to those who plan to shoot fireworks off around Independence Day. Proper precautions should be taken to ensure the least amount of risk. "You want to be in an area of short vegetation or no vegetation. You don't want dry, dead grass, leaves, or brush around." If your property is not safe don't assume a neighbor is ok with fireworks being set in their property. You will need permission from someone who does have a safe area to shoot fireworks on and they must be shot on private property.
"Yes consumer grade fireworks (ones shot into the air and explode) are legal. However, you have got to understand they are only legal on your property. If you're caught setting them off on someone else's property, you're liable to get a ticket and believe me the tickets have some huge fines with them."
Consumer grade fire works are only legal to shoot until 1 a.m., and only legal to set off the day of, day before, and day after national holiday. Don't under estimate a firework because of it's size either. They don't have to be industrial strength to hurt someone.
"The novelty items are just as dangerous if not more dangerous in some situations than the actual consumer grade fireworks. Over 18,000 burn injuries are reported every year just from sparklers. Sparklers burn at a temperature of 1500-2000 degrees Fahrenheit. So if you can imagine that, they'll cause an easy second or third degree in a very short amount of time. And where do we see most of those injuries? Children."
Having a bucket of water or sand to put finished sparklers in will help mitigate burn risk. Another use for a bucket of water is pour over any fireworks that may be duds. "And if one of you fireworks doesn't go off please don't go up and look into it or over it." A firework that was lit but didn't explode should be treated as live still. Pouring water over the dud is the best way to finish it off.
Sky lanterns also seem relatively harmless but are illegal in most places in Michigan. "Because it's an uncontrolled, flaming fuel package that goes up in the air, and you can't control where it comes down." Fire works and incendiary devices are fun and pretty but should be used responsibly and under controllable circumstances.
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